Play It Again, Sam

It’s a new year, so I thought it only fitting that I complain about Hollywood remakes. Do they no longer have money to hire writers who can come up with an original script? Does it always have to be a movie based on a 1970s TV show or on a book or on a movie from 20 years ago?

For instance, my daughter loves The Poseidon Adventure  for some reason – the original with a hearty Shelley Winters saving everyone for a little while with her mad underwater swimming skills. We haven’t seen that one on DVD, so she bought the new Poseidon with Kurt (Disney) Russell and Richard (Whackjob) Dreyfuss.  Who knows what she was thinking. Not surprisingly, the whole thing sucked goats from beginning to end.

So, I was very excited to see a cover-free copy of Poseidon Adventure in the discount bin at a local video store the other day. “This is the old version, right? Not the new one?” I asked the helpful sales associate. They assured me it was. They confirmed that the new version sucked goats and was no longer an adventure as it was only called, Poseidon.

I brought it home all excited and XUP Jr. couldn’t wait to watch it. Some of you are already way ahead of me, so you won’t be surprised to learn that the “old” Poseidon Adventure they sold me, was actually another remake starring Adam (The Least Known) Baldwin and Steve (Ye Gods and Fishes) Guttenberg. This time terrorists turn the boat upside down. The whole thing was a mess.

Okay, so they screwed around with Poseidon Adventure a few times. Big deal. Not a great movie to begin with.  However, should they be allowed to screw around with the classics? There’s been a lot of talk over the years of remaking Casablanca, for instance.

Remember that famous final scene where Rick helps Laszlo to escape telling his true love, Ilsa, she cannot stay in Casablanca, but must go to Lisbon with Laszlo? There they are – the three of them on the tarmac while the propellers of a 1930s airplane spin in the distance waiting to take off. Laszlo is already on board and Rick and Ilsa have a heated, last minute discussion about why she must leave. Here’s a short (colourized)excerpt:

The most recent version of Casablanca just doesn’t have that same magic. How could it? Here, for instance is a bit of the script from the remake of that final scene.

Rick is standing in a line at a modern airport along with about 700 other people. Ilsa comes running up, breathless, with a cart full of of luggage. She stands with her face about 1/2 inch from his.

Rick: What the hell are you doing Ilsa? A steamer trunk? You can’t take a steamer trunk on an airplane. Do you know how much that would cost?  Dammit! The taxes and fuel surcharges have already blown your travel budget for the year… sweatheart.

Ilsa: But, Rick.

Rick: But nothing kid. Choose one bag to check and one bag for carry-on.

Ilsa: Oh Rick. No!

Rick: Yes, Ilsa, you must. What have you got in this carry-on anyway? Lipstick? Are you insane? An emery board?  A book in French? Why don’t you just turn yourself in as a terrorist right now? Get rid of all this stuff and now or you’ll regret it. Maybe not while we’re standing in line, but later, much later when we get to security.

Ilsa: Oh Rick.

Rick: And where’s your lunch sweetheart? Do you know how much airplane food costs? Do you know what airplane food is made of? If you eat that crap you’ll regret it. Maybe not right away, but soon and for the rest of your life.  All you should have in this carry-on bag is a plain, white bread sandwich, no pointy condiments like lettuce, no sharp toasted edges. And above all, no beverages! Remember to put the bag in the overhead compartment, Ilsa! For god’s sake don’t hold it in your lap. And get your hands out of your pockets. And take off that hat. You look suspicious.

Ilsa: (weeping a little) Oh Rick, Rick.

Rick: Oh Rick indeed. I’m sorry sweetheart, but this is no vacation you’re on here. This is an Airplane Trip!!! ……HEY! What are you doing with that martini? Get rid of it. Are you crazy? You won’t be able to leave your seat to pee. Lisbon’s a long trip….kid. And we haven’t even gotten to the baggage check yet. It’ll be hours before you even get on the plane by the time you’ve been through the security probes, scans, x-rays, shoe inspections and various levels of interrogation….why your bladder will be bursting.

Ilsa: Yes, Rick. Okay, Rick.

Rick: Okay, good. Now act natural. The CCTVs are looking at you, kid.

Attention Passengers! Flight 359 to Lisbon will be delayed 4 hours due to poor planning. Leaving your place in the corral queue will automatically render your flight ticket invalid. Meanwhile enjoy this airport muzak version of As Time Goes By.

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21 responses to “Play It Again, Sam

  1. haha. a good laugh.happy new year. i hav a deadline in the first week of new yr and spend my time in ur blog.sigh…can’t help it:-].shud i sue in american style for distraction?:-]

  2. Bandobras – I know. I was in line, but my food and water supplies ran out.

    Linda – Thanks. A wonder 2010 to you, too!

    Ramble – Well, you can always try. In fact, I wish you would. It would be great publicity for the blog.

    Loth – You mean, in anticipation of your trip this summer? I’m hoping the reactionary panic from the last week will simmer down in the next couple of months. Let’s face it, they can keep adding inconvenience upon inconvenience to air travel, but unless you’re actually openly carrying a weapon and shooting it once in a while, there really is no such thing as “airport security”. The determined will always find a way to circumvent our barn-door measures.

  3. After reading this I now realize why modern movies really do suck.
    And to think, I used to think that it was the writers faults, ha,ha..

  4. All remakes are Shite. It was once said that there are really only 32 stories and that all stories are just variations on those 32 stories. However when Turner classic movies started to colourize films it took alot of the charecter out of the films. Who could really enjoy the classics like Citizen Kane or Seven Samurai in colour? Even a remake of a shitty film like “Ocean’s 11” doesn’t stand up to the original shitty film.
    As Orson Wells said about the rumours about colourizing Citizen Kane “Keep your damn crayons away from my film!”

  5. Glen – Who is this Glen person you keep impersonating? I know you are H&B2!! (PS: Never blame writers for anything)

    Lebanonowski – Ok. Why do you keep remaking your name? And why do you colourize yourself?

    Amy – Yay TI. I think Poseidon was the first of the disaster movies, maybe followed by Inferno, right? That was an amusing Hollywood trend there for a while, wasn’t it?

    Mary – thanks (shhhh) Glad you like my rugged boot collection.

    Julie – Thanks. It’s a whole new layout as well…figured it was about bloody time

    Sheryl – What’s the deal with everyone commenting under odd pseudonyms? You have a few, but I’ve never seen this one before. And ya – boo for remakes.

  6. Its my way – and by the way – Kenny G could try to play Beethoven’s 5th and make it sound like……. a colourised movie.

  7. This was just responsible for my first laugh/spray the screen with tea incident of the new year.

    Happy New Year, XUP. Perhaps you should do some scriptwriting?

  8. Well I’d like to think if they remade it it would be set in the same time. I think remakes are very personal. For instance, I would be furious if they tried to remake The Wizard of Oz but I might be interested in seeing a remake of The Sting because I have no personal connection to that movie. And some movies were never great to begin with that should have been. I’d like to see a kickass remake of The Great Gatsby. And wouldn’t an HBO miniseries of A Tale of Two Cities really rock?

  9. Leb – Yay, for Kenny

    Alison – Do people actually do that? Spray their monitors with liquids whilst laughing? Or is that just a figure of speech? I can’t imagine that people actually ROFL, for instance, so I can’t imagine they actually do the monitor spray thing either. But please correct me if I’m wrong. And thanks. I believe I will become a script-writer. (PS: Actually what I said was “sucks goats” not “blows goats”)

    Geewits – Nah, they’d modernize it because no one would have any frame of reference to that “war thing” anymore. It would have to be a more modern war with lots of cool FX and maybe some animation and digital remastering (whatever that is) and probably a light saber or some sort of hideous alien life form. Casablanca is too boring for the average movie goer these days. Also, if they’re just going to copy the original there would be no point in doing a remake. So there. Let’s not!

  10. I actually don’t think that remakes are necessarily a bad thing, and, in fact, a select few are very good, even sometimes better than the original. The remade version of Battlestar Galactica, for example, is very much superior to the cheesy original. And I think very few people prefer the original version of The Maltese Falcon to the 1941 remake with Humphrey Bogart. Most remakes are crap, it’s true, but I think that’s just a case of Sturgeon’s Law in action.

    Oh, and incidentally, Adam Baldwin has no relation to the other Baldwins. He’s quite a good actor in his own right, actually, if not terribly well-known outside of genre TV fans.

  11. Bandobras – Well so far both Madonna and Ashton Kutcher/Paris Hilton have failed to remake it. And if they can’t succeed, who can?

    David – True, there probably are some good remakes out there. The 3rd remake of the Titanic story was the best one, I think. Then they ruined it with the newest one. I didn’t realize there even was a previous version of Maltese Falcon, though. Interesting.